With so many away games, it is not surprising that this match came with a lot of confusion. The confirmation and attendance of this game had two critical challenges; those who do not comprehend English and those who have loans. If you have toured Ukambani and not just passed through Machakos and its adjacent towns on your way to Mombasa then you have come across the town of Kangundo and hence know that there is a smaller town before Kangundo called Tala is a town, while we are all aware of Tala the money-loaning app. Now to the two groups of people; the first group understood the away team was Tala FC from Tala Town however, whether by the assumption of oversight assumed that the game was away in Tala Town. Admittedly a short one-hour drive away would have been an exciting trip however, the game was at ABSA grounds. For the second group, these ones some even confirmed their attendance for the game, only later to realize that they own Tala the money lending group some unpaid dues. Unaware of the existence of Tala the town they instead came up with a myriad of excuses of not confirming and last-minute non-attendance for fear that the individual that they have blocked their phone numbers will have a claim to the loan they have skipped paying. It is in this dilemma that Coach Waire found himself with only 12 players to call from as the 3 o’clock lineup arrived. Even with the referee being late for over 30 minutes (organizers yawa we need serious referees, you cannot expect payment and still delay the start of a match) Babu continued his stint between the sticks as he faces no competition in the position, with his nearest competitor having retired. Buffon is no longer spotted on the green trenches of the pitches with the evergreen more prominent in the corridors of whatsup just “mouthing”. Steve was the only recognized center back on the team and the only assurance that the team is required. When you have such a dependable player back on the team, you don’t have to worry about who plays alongside him. However, Droopy was tasked to fill in the unfamiliar position though not too foreign as he has played in the position in training before. However, he stood to be tested in a real match a battle that the bench was keenly following. Additionally, communication between Steve and Droopy at the back has always been frosty with Kamdam providing a cushion (mediator/interpreter - translating English to Kiswahili and vice versa) no wonder Kamdam gets tired even without touching the ball. Ben 10 continued his good run in the team starting at left-back and Karani found himself in unfamiliar territory as right back. Masoni another senior on the team looked to provide calm and confidence by connecting the midfield and supporting the defense. Chubar and Johnny supported him with Kikuyu United Rasco and Erico operating in the wings. Sisco looked to continue his goal-scoring upfront with Tony Tiger the only player on the bench. He was soon joined by Mutua who could not miss an opportunity to play against his relatives, while Ogochee pulled a surprise on the team. After being dissed the whole week for his famously big black bag aka the bagman he decided to add one piece of mystery to his game. Ogochee not only arrived with his big bag but also a silver briefcase with contents suspected to be from the Roots party chairman. The only time a Luo man is seen with a briefcase when not going to work is when he is going to “nyombo” aka pay dowry and it can only be assumed that the kijana mzee had done the “ting” The well-trimmed grass must have impressed Tala FC as they began the match with flair playing good touches with Parklands chasing shadows. To what has become the norm Parklands was having difficulty getting into the game but with such a makeshift team it was understandable but the opponents were taking significant advantage of this. It only took five minutes for the visitors to have the ball at the back of the net; a simple loop over the defense had the ball between the goalkeeper and the Tala striker. Babu came to clear the ball which was outside his area, but the striker was just as fast, putting his body in line, and by body, I mean his children. The clearance rickoshade against his family jewels and back into play. The striker had two choices; either confirm if he would ever sire children again or score the goal and risk barrenness. He chose the latter, scoring into the empty net before rolling half in celebration and half in pain to cup what was a joyful moment for the team and a mixed moment for him. It marked the first substitution of the game in a game that Tala would substitute over 20 times. The goal looked to have warmed up Parklands as they gained their groove, even Ben 10 who had spent 20 minutes without touching the ball was getting into the game and joining Rasco in the attack. It was Karani who produced the moment of magic for the equalizer as his out boot loop allowed Chubar to beat the offside trap with aches of space between him and the goalkeeper. Chubar teased to fire but instead chose to set up the on-rushing Sisco who had an easy time firing into the empty post. The goal allowed the moment to significantly shift to Parklands’ side as they controlled the game with the opponents unable to get hold of the ball. Karani was proving at home at right-back while Droopy was having one of his best games in a PSC match as he looked unbeatable at the back. Whether it is the assurance of Steve by his side or the awareness that he was the last man, Droopy was winning all the balls at the back, and connecting brilliantly with Masoni who was always available to receive the pass and begin the attack. Masoni controlled the pressing always being at the right place at the right time, allowing Johny and Chubar to easily join in the attack and have the spaces to do their trickery and football gimmicks. It is at the level of comfort that Chubar threaded a grass-cutter pass from the center of the field matching Rasco’s anticipation and speed, with the winger cutting brilliantly from wide and the resulting cross finding Johny with an empty post to score. The first half had enough action to support Rasco missing the target severally before Sisco hit the post with a loop over the goalkeeper. By then Tala had already made 12 substitutions including changing the goalkeeper and yet the referee was the one to save them from a drabbing. Quick substitutions, with Ogochee in for Johnny, Tiger for Karani as Erico dropped back into right-back, and Mutua for Masoni. A very attacking substitution with Mutua more adventurers than Masoni and for what Masoni supplies in aggression and Tackles Mutua replies with accurate passes. The substitutions almost had an instant effect with Rasco finding space to provide a cut back to Tiger with the keeper beaten and an empty posting begging to be scored. Tiger pulled the trigger but his shot was only good enough to side net the goalpost. Ogochee, Sisco, and Tiger were connecting brilliantly as this time Sisco was set on goal with Ogochee and with only the goalkeeper were not sure whether to loop or finesse ending with a mixture of the two that horribly hobbled away from goal. The combination was not to be denied as Mutua dazzling in midfield received a kung fu kick, and while he sprawled to the ground the referee chose to play on the game, Chubar finding Ogochee. You know something extraordinary is about to happen when Ogochee twists his arm and looks like he is about to perform a gully creep dance. Twisting turning, bamboozling, and confusing the defense, they must have thought they were seeing Gaucho’s incarceration as he unleashed a sick no-look pass, catching the defense flat-footed and even Tiger could not miss such an exquisite layoff. 3-1 and Parklands was cruising to dreamland. The second Tala keeper must have seen it was enough and called it a day being subbed off for the nest keeper. Tala pumped in even fresher outfield players but Raggae could not be stopped. Rasco raced through the left and his 45 crosses were drilled home by Sisco as the game turned into a routine beating. Even I could no longer continue seeing people’s husbands and fathers continue to suffer humiliation as the game developed into a cricket score. Tala was giving up as they were blunt in attack and porous at the back. Further goals by Sisco, Johny, and Onesi sealed the fate of Tala as PSC ran away 8-3 winners with Rasco banging 5 assists in total for the game and being crowned king of the match. In the end, the quantity of the players from Tala proved to have very little quality. They should go train before we visit them for an away leg, at least so that PSC can get some exercise.